Some may ask, “Why the need for the one by One campaign now?” The answer is clear. The world needs our Catholic mission now more than ever.
“At Mass look around your parish as most likely you will see a fair number of empty seats that just a few years ago were filled. According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Catholics who attend Mass at least once per month has dropped from 51.6% in 2005 to 45.3% in 2018,” said Fr. Luke Ferris, Vicar for Clergy and Pastoral Leaders for the Diocese of Green Bay. “This is disheartening. We must change and grow and find new ways to reach out to people.”
Through support of the one by One campaign the diocese will be able to find new and innovative ways to reach out to and connect with families and individuals. To help accomplish this, Bishop David Ricken has set forth two diocesan-wide goals to be reached by 2025. First, to call forth and form 1,000 missionary leaders, who will mobilize 25,000 missionary disciples, who will disciple at least two others. Second, to call forth and form 30 seminarians to be missionary leaders in the priesthood.
One way the one by One campaign will help us reach these goals is by strengthening and advancing Catholic education into schools of discipleship. As Fr. Carl Schmitt said, “Our world needs Catholic schools. Our world needs faith-based people. Our world needs disciples who treat people with dignity and respect, with love of neighbor, with forgiving and passionate hearts, to do the work of Christ right here on earth.”
Catholic education and faith formation programs grow devoted Catholics who have personal relationships with Jesus, are inspired to attend Mass, receive God’s gifts, pursue vocations to ordained ministry, and create faithful marriages and households of discipleship.
“Pope Francis is urging all of us to reach out, to be deeply rooted in prayer by developing an intimate friendship with Jesus Christ,” said Bishop Ricken, writing about Disciples on the Way. “He asks us to share the fruits of the spiritual intimacy we have with Jesus with everyone in our lives, so others see the joy of Christ shining forth in us.”
This joy of Christ shines in many ways. For young men across the diocese, it is through their call to the priesthood. With support of the one by One campaign even more men will be able to say “Yes!” to the Lord. Currently we have 14 seminarians but need at least 30 men to lead diocesan Catholics in Mass and share the sacraments. The one by One campaign will help to grow and enhance support for those who answer God’s call.
“We need to be present in places where people who are considering a vocation live, study and pray,” said Fr. Ferris. “This mission campaign will help us to increase our presence on college campuses where students are exploring their faith and vocation, whether it is to the priesthood, or married or single life. We need to be there to journey with them and keep them connected to our Catholic faith. Many times these students are the future leaders in our parishes.”
According to the 2019 Official Catholic Directory only 24% of the 295,377 Catholics in the diocese attend Mass at least once per month. The one by One campaign will help accomplish Bishop Ricken’s goals and lead more people to the Kingdom of God, which will in turn draw more families to parishes. This will benefit each parish for years to come as they capture the hearts of many and have pews full every Sunday. It will provide for the future success of parishes and allow for more programs, outreach and sacraments.
“Now is our opportunity to share our gifts to support the mission of our Catholic Church in northeastern Wisconsin. Together we will create and support communities that lead others to discover, follow, worship and share Jesus,” said Fr. Ferris. “Through your support of the one by One campaign we will be able to plan for the future of our church, meet people of all ages where they are and walk with them as they journey closer to our Lord.”
Bishop Ricken has called for us to renew our mission and vision for the Diocese of Green Bay. The one by One campaign takes up this call and invites each of us to embrace people’s hearts and transform our communities.
To learn how you can help make this happen, please visit the one by One campaign website at one.catholicfoundationgb.org.